There are often many misconceptions about traveling with your animals, whether it be relocating to Singapore permanently, or traveling abroad for leisure purposes. You probably might have heard many stories of giving one’s pet away or the tedious and complicated process of bringing them abroad.
However, it can be even more upsetting if you have to leave your pet behind since they are considered part of our immediate family. Fret not! Traveling with your dog will get easier when you know the rules and procedures of the process.
Importing pets into Singapore
Plan ahead. Knowing the ins and outs of the traveling requirements will help to ensure a better peace of mind for both you and your pup. Different airlines and countries have different rules and regulations about whether and how a pet can travel, so be sure to know what the specific ones are. Before transporting your loved ones abroad, here’s what you need to prepare:
1. What’s your dog’s breed?
Do you know that certain dog breeds are banned from entering the country? It is important to check if your pet is allowed in Singapore. AVA, the government body that ensures the health and welfare of animals in the country, classify the banned dogs under Category A.
2. Have your dog microchipped
All dogs must have a microchip and should comply with ISO 11784/11785 for identification and verification purposes. Otherwise, you need to attach a scanner to the carrier of your pet and that may cause more trouble than they’re worth. Pssst…having a microchip is useful because it can be used to trace your pet if it loses its way!
3. Check your country’s category for AVA Veterinary Condition
AVA categorises countries based on the requirements needed for paperwork and vaccinations purposes. For example, entering Singapore from a category A country does not require your pet to undergo rabies vaccination. However, other forms of vaccination are still required to pass the immigration checkpoint.
On the other hand, dogs under B, C or D categories must be vaccinated against the deadly diseases rabies prior to travelling abroad. Depending on the level of risk of rabies in each category, the period of time to be kept quarantined will differ accordingly as well.
In addition, an antibody level blood test is also mandatory for dogs coming from Categories B, C and D countries. Most of the countries requiring the test dictate that the pet should be vaccinated for rabies for at least 30 days prior to the blood sample being drawn so do take note of that!
4. Secure a Veterinary Health Certificate
A Veterinary Health Certificate is required from the AVA to certify that your pet is well and healthy. This must be signed by an accredited veterinarian to prove that your pet is free from potentially contagious or infectious diseases. Think about how diseases can spread so easily to humans – no wonder it is so crucial to ensure that traveling animals are healthy!
5. Obtain both dog license and import license
You also need to obtain a dog license and apply for an AVA import license subsequently at least 30 days prior to your travels. Just a tip: there is a difference in the cost and validity of import licensing services between commercial and personal travel purposes. Be sure to purchase the right import licensing service at the AVA e-Licensing website.
6. Comfort is the best gift
Are you still deciding which carrier suits your dog best? Besides your carrier being required to conform to IATA requirements, it also needs to be of the right size with proper food, water, and ventilation to ensure that your dog gets to the destination safely.
There are plenty of comfortable carriers available with different designs and compartments for your dog to snuggle around or lay down comfortably. What better way to show your pups with love than providing them with the comfort of his/her own space? The most important thing to note when choosing the appropriate carrier is to make sure your dog is both comfortable and safe.
7. Reserve quarantine space
Don’t forget to reserve quarantine space with AVA if you’re importing pets from Category C or D countries! Your pet will be subjected to a minimum of 10 and 30 days respectively at the Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station. You are advised to reserve at least 3 months prior to your travel to secure a space safely. Better be early than late for your pet’s safety!
8. Make an appointment – QUICK!
Inform AVA’s border control office of the arrival time and date at least 5 days before you arrive on this tiny red dot. This can be completed by submitting a request online for inspections purposes. This is an extremely crucial step because failure to do so will cost you an $80 inspection fee!
Exporting your pet out of Singapore
Bringing your pet out of this city requires more research and information on your end because each designated countries have different requirements and regulations in regards to the transportation of pets. Nevertheless, here are some mandatory steps to take when you wish to bring your pups out of Singapore:
1. Get an AVA export license
Similar to obtaining an import license, you are required to get a dog license before purchasing an export license from AVA. Likewise, the cost and validity differ for both commercial and personal traveling purposes so do check correctly!
2. Health and vaccination certificate
This step only applies if your designated country requires certificates for your pet. Assuming your country of destination requires one, go to a private veterinarian for examination. In some cases, you may need to have these certificates endorsed by an official government veterinarian.
As it is not possible to list everything that is required since the importation requirements of every country varies, be sure to research thoroughly and check with the rules and regulations to avoid incurring petty fees. All it takes is a little patience and jumping through the right hoops to get your pet to explore a whole new different world!
Alas, you’ve prepared all the administrative documents and are ready to fly with your pet. This can be terribly nerve-wrecking because different airlines have their own set of rules and regulations regarding the transportation of pets. What now?
Look up at the different airlines
Singapore airlines, for example, have a list of breeds that are prohibited in their plane. This includes all types of terriers, pugs, and spaniels. Furthermore, you also need to research if your pet is allowed to check in as a checked-in baggage. Transporting your pet as an additional baggage may incur additional baggage fees on your end if it takes up your free baggage allowance.
If you have followed all the steps mentioned above, the veterinary inspection conducted by the AVA officer at the border checkpoints will be a smooth sailing process. If your pet is required to be quarantined, he/she will be sent to the respective quarantine station and will be released before you know it!
We understand how tedious it is to bring your pets abroad but trust me, you’ll be amazed at how great of an ice breaker they can be. Even in sunny Singapore, allow your dog to get soak under the sun and walk around our clean and green parks on Sunday afternoons to get your best treat!
We hope that this short guide by Kohepets helps you understand the process of transporting your pet overseas a little better. Wishing you and your furkids safe and happy travels!